The law firm Marshall & Taylor PLLC, believes that when two parents decide to end their marriage, the living situations for both parents, as well as their children, can change dramatically and in just a small amount of time. In many cases, the parent who takes primary custody of the child may incur a number of significant costs that they may not be able to afford on their own. For this reason, many divorce settlements include child support arrangements to help the custodial parent with these costs.

Child support is one of the most difficult issues divorcing parents need to settle. It refers to the amount of financial assistance the non-custodial parent, also known as the obligor, ought to pay to the obligee, that is, the custodial parent, the guardian, the caregiver or, in the absence of all these, the state – for the support of the child.       

Parents are legally obliged to support their biological children after divorce. This legal responsibility is recognized worldwide, especially by the nations which are members of the UN. In the U.S., this parental obligation is further enforced by the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, which also enumerates the factors that ought to be considered when resolving child support issues.

This financial support is supposed to help cover the basic needs of a child, such as food, shelter, clothing, education and health care; it is also usually paid until the child’s 18th year. Some of the factors considered in resolving this issue includes the present income of the parents (income includes wages, commissions, dividends, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment benefits, among others), the age and needs of the child, the parent’s capacity to contribute to child support and the cost of the child’s needs.

Besides the monthly or periodic payments by the obligor, he or she may also be asked by the court to contribute to the child’s future financial activities and needs, such as vacation, camp, dental and medical, and further education. There is no specific federal ruling, though, regarding the necessity of support for children who have already reached the age of 18 but still want to pursue higher education; nor is there a final court ruling regarding the continuity of payment of support upon the death of the obligor.

 

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